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Shoppers Right to Cancel

Does Visa give them the right to cancel an order?

3:09 pm on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

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We sell widgets online, and do not state a specific delivery timeframe for an order. We have always followed the FTC "30-Day" Rule, and all orders are shipped and received within 30 days. (The vast majority of orders ship within 24-48 hours, but in all cases, they ship within 30 days).

Our online product catalog is vast, and we stock a 1-month supply of every widget that we sell (12 turns of inventory per year). However, some items sell so infrequently, our "1-month supply" is Zero (a non-stock item). It's not that the items are "special" in any sense; they just don't sell very frequently, and to have one on the shelf gathering dust makes no business sense.

So we requisition these non-stock Widgets from the manufacturer as they are ordered... a process that might take 3 days at most. We don't announce this on the website; in fact, there's no guarantee of shipping timeframe anywhere on our site. We simply follow the FTC 30-Day Rule.

We are generally very accepting of cancellation requests. So when a customer demands to cancel an order after 2 days, because we haven't shipped it yet (what I call the "Amazon Prime effect"), we generally cancel the payment authorization and close the order.

When we started selling online 10 years ago, customers generally expected delivery within a week, so shipment within a few days was fine, as long as they received it 7 days after placing the order.

In the past year or two, we've noticed that this expectation is no longer the norm. An order placed on Monday better be received by Friday at the latest, or else!

I read this thread with interest: [webmasterworld.com ], and I'd like to ask a similar (but quite different) question:

If a shopper places an order online at our store, what "right of cancellation" do they have, given to them by Visa or PayPal?

I'm not asking about our "Terms of Service" on the website (customers generally don't read fine print before they order), but the specific rights ordained to them by their payment method.

Is it reasonable to deny a "cancellation demand" on Thursday for an order placed on Monday? Do shoppers using Visa-cards have a "right of cancellation"?

Please understand, I'm not asking about "store policy", but specific rights they have from Visa or PayPal.
4:05 pm on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I under that you are not asking about store policy but the only reply is: they cancel anytime just as they wish because they can make a chargeback that you will loose anyway.

We, shop owners, are victims of banks and Paypal !
5:22 pm on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I think as far as the Credit Cards and PayPal are concerned, the customer can cancel anytime before you send out the shipment. As if you have proof of delivery you can fight the charegbacks
5:40 pm on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

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The important thing is your policies. You don't say whether the customer was informed about when to expect their order, that is the question. Credit cards don't give people any special right to cancel, but a customer who has not been told what to expect four days after they order might very well cancel their order. If your site spells out what people can expect after placing an order and you send an order confirmation with the expected delivery date then it falls on them to cancel right away if they can't wait.
6:31 pm on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

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First of all: The customer has a contract with you when he shops online - the credit card is just a method of payment, a means for the customer to fulfill his part of the contract.

So the question would not be, what is in the contract between the customer and the credit card company - that does not concern you, but what does the contract you have with the credit card or the payment provider say.

The credit card company can't simply give the customer the right to cancel an order without you being involved in some way. For example the credit card company could say: If you want to accept our credit card as means of payment you have to agree to abide to a certain policies about order cancellations.

Otherwise if no such agreements exist: You could very well insist the customer abides to the contract.

The reason customers are able to issue chargebacks in the first place is often: They simply lie about the reason for the chargeback.

A good source of information for VISA is here:

Especially the download "Chargeback Management Guidelines".

In the European Union however things are different than in the US, because of the distance selling regulations private individuals have the right to cancel most online orders anyway.
11:41 pm on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the great feedback.

I agree about setting customers expectations, and we've experimented with showing delivery expectations on the website.

Small sites have a tough challenge, because while we can offer to ship in-stock widgets, "Within 24 hours", some customers expect that same commitment regardless of the order size. We cannot stock a hundred units of every type of widget, so any single large order can break that commitment. And I'm not really interested in displaying our inventory levels online.

Regarding chargebacks, we agree that customers often tell us one story, then leave out those important details with the chargeback request. Lying by omission.

But we don't consider the credit card company to be the final arbitrator for anything, and haven't hesitated in using the suggestion of small claims action to recover our property after a chargeback has been granted.